James Coates working in the Visitor Centre at Sherwood Forest

James Coates – Sherwood Forest Visitors Centre

15 March 2022

James Coates joined North Notts College as part of the Supported Internship programme within the FLEX department. The Supported Internship programme offers our FLEX students the opportunity to gain valuable experience in the workplace within a supported environment. Allowing students to further develop their skills and experience in a structured way.

During his time on the FLEX course, James was able to gain some valuable experience in catering, such as learning how to prepare a two-course lunch for students at the College.

Since starting his Internship in September 2020, James has been working two days a week as a Catering Assistant in the café at the Sherwood Forest Visitors Centre. With the long-term goal of James being able to access work independently. After completing his internship, James will continue to work independently within the cafe for two days a week.

His day-to-day duties consist of assisting with serving customers, making drinks, working front-of-house, general cleaning and helping out in the kitchen. Throughout his internship, James has been willing and enthusiastic at completing any task asked of him.

James has also completed a number of different training courses during his Internship including RSPB Code of Conduct, GDPR, Level 2 Food Safety, Allergen Awareness and Card Payment Industry, completing all of these alongside attending College 2 days a week.

Community and Volunteer Development Officer at the Visitors Centre Carol Hallam, who works closely with James, had this to say: “It has been great to see James grow in confidence and provide a meaningful contribution to the café operations throughout his placement.”

She continued: “We are delighted that James will continue to be part of our team and we look forward to seeing him learn and develop even further as a volunteer at RSPB Sherwood.”

Carol also spoke very positively about the FLEX team and James’ Job Coach Samantha Ferrol.

She said, “I would like to give credit to Sam and the whole of the North Notts College team, for providing such valuable support both to James and our staff during his internship – great Teamwork!”

We also spoke to Caroline Coates, James’ Mother about James and how his placement at the RSPB Cafe has helped him develop and grow his confidence.

Caroline said: “James started his placement at the RSPB Cafe in Edwinstowe, initially working one day a week, slowly increasing to Two. He loves his job and says that everyone is very friendly and willing to help him. they have made him feel very welcome.

“He has a rota to adhere to including washing pots cleaning tables, filling up the condiments and crockery and now serving customers using the barista machine which he loves. Massive thanks to Sam at North Notts College for her encouragement and time with James and to Christian and the whole team at the RSPB, all this hard work from everyone and James has resulted in him becoming a permanent volunteer 6 hours a week. Thank you to all involved.”

Our FLEX department offers students a range of different courses including Independent Living, Pre-Internships and Supported Internships. Our FLEX department allows students the opportunity to play in disability sports leagues, as well as taking part in fundraising activities and even star in drama productions and shows!


Click here for more information about Supported Internships and other FLEX courses on offer at North Notts College

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